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New parks director to start April 28

The City of La Grande has hired a new parks and recreation director. Stu Spence will begin his work as the department director April 28.

Half million Oregonians still need to file tax returns

The Oregon Department of Revenue is reminding nearly 500,000 Oregonians that they still need to file personal income tax returns by the April 15 filing deadline. That's only one week away. 


State OK’s TRU model

Eastern Oregon University is a major step closer to being governed by its own institutional board in about 15 months.

The State Board of Higher Education voted Friday to endorse a new governance structure for EOU, Western Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology and Southern Oregon University. The structure, known as the Technical and Regional University model, will allow the foursome to be governed by their own institutional boards starting on July 1, 2015.


Road to new facility has been full of twists, turns

Before deciding to site the new Union County Circuit Courthouse on Shelter From the Storm’s footprint, county officials looked extensively into an alternative option — adding vertically to the county’s law enforcement building.

Court and county officials say they knew the Union County Circuit Courthouse was the worst in the state.


County will look at marijuana moratorium

Add Union County to the list of municipalities exploring a medical marijuana moratorium.

During a regular session of the Union County Board of Commissioners last week, the commissioners decided to look into the idea of placing a one-year moratorium on dispensaries.


BRIEFLY: Bikeway committee meets Thursday

Bikeway committee meets Thursday

A NEOC Bikeway Committee meeting will be held at the Smokehouse Restaurant, 2206 Adams Ave., at noon Thursday, said spokesperson Anita Metlen.


BLM: Avoid Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek Road

Baker City — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is notifying the public that the Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek road in Wallowa County suffered severe damage received during a high water event in March 2014. 
The Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek Road (located in Township 4 North, Range 42 East, Sections 12, 13 and 14, and Township 4 North, Range 43 East, Sections 6 and 31) has suffered significant flood damage in several locations and is currently impassable. The BLM is advising the public to avoid the Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek Road until such time as repair needs can be assessed and implemented.

State board approves EOU’s independent governing proposal

The State Board of Higher Education endorsed with conditions Eastern Oregon University’s request for an independent governing board today during its meeting in Portland.

“This provides a clear pathway forward, guided by people who will be focused solely on the success of this university,” said EOU President Bob Davies. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

EOU graduate nominated for top acting honor

Emily Nash, left, appears with actor Sean Cook in a production of “Almost Maine’’ in Bellingham, Wash., last summer.

Emily Nash is a finalist for the Irene Ryan Award

Emily Nash, an actress with deep 

La Grande roots, is six minutes from an acting pinnacle. 


Details remain to be sorted

Final vote on $500,000 request for downtown grocery store not expected this month

Though a presentation for a proposed downtown La Grande grocery store seemed well-received, there is much to be done before the project is approved for funding.


Construction to close La Grande on-ramp

Construction to close La Grande on-ramp. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Bicyclists prohibited from riding on interstate during construction 

The westernmost on-ramp for Interstate 84 in La Grande will soon close for the construction season.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials say the westbound on-ramp at exit 259 is expected to close April 21 through the fall.


BRIEFLY: Union County Nile Club meets Monday

Union County Nile Club meets Monday 

Union County Nile Club will meet at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Golden Harvest Restaurant. Officers will be installed.


McGee set to call it quits

City councilor will attend final council meeting on April 16

La Grande City Councilor Kelly McGee will soon attend her last meeting as a local elected official. She submitted a letter of resignation to the city Monday.


Deal to bring more educational opportunities to area

Cottonwood Crossing State Park on the John Day River will provide natural resource learning opportunities after representatives of Eastern Oregon University signed an agreement Wednesday with the state parks department.

EOU enters agreement with state parks

Eastern Oregon University and Oregon State Parks and Recreation are bringing kids and nature together for a unique learning experience. 


10 Things to Know for Friday, April 4

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


BRIEFLY: March was second wettest on record

March was second wettest on record 

Grab the raincoats and umbrella. This was the second wettest March on record in La Grande, with 3.09 inches recorded. The wettest was 3.36 inches in 1983.


Council OK’s cell tower upgrades

COVE — After a lengthy public hearing, the Cove City Council voted to approve upgrades to a cell tower in Cove that is owned by AT&T.

AT&T had applied to the city to upgrade the tower to become 4G compliant.


Mystery of missing airliner solved?

La Grande woman claims she’s found the missing airplane

Sharon Cantrell said she knows where the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is.

And it isn’t off the coast of Australia. 


State board to decide EOU governance

Board also hopes to have interim president named soon

The State Board of Higher Education is set to soon make two decisions that will have major impacts on Eastern Oregon University — one for perhaps the next century, the other for the short term. 


Shelter retains legal counsel

Director fears doors may close, commissioner says county is doing everything possible

Shelter From the Storm has retained legal counsel amid concerns the nonprofit’s operations may be interrupted as the new Union County courthouse is built.

Shelter From the Storm Executive Director Teresa Crouser says the shelter has a genuine fear that the nonprofit may have to close its doors.

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